2014 Dijon attack

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This article was considered for deletion at Wikipedia on October 13 2017. This is a backup of Wikipedia:2014_Dijon_attack. All of its AfDs can be found at Wikipedia:Special:PrefixIndex/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/2014_Dijon_attack, the first at Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/2014_Dijon_attack. Purge

Template:Infobox civilian attack

On 21 December 2014, a man in the French city of Dijon was arrested after a vehicle-ramming attack in which he drove a van into pedestrians in five areas of the city in the space of half an hour. Thirteen people were injured, two of them seriously.

The alleged perpetrator shouted the Islamic takbir Allahu Akbar ("God is Great"); he had a record of mental disorder and no known links with terrorist groups. According to the Globe and Mail the attack was "apparently inspired by a video" circulated by ISIL calling on French Muslims to attack non-Muslims using vehicles.[1] The attack is been discussed as an incident categorized by French authorities as being caused by mental-illness, but by terrorism experts including David Martin Jones of the University of Queensland as lone wolf terrorism inspired by Islamist propaganda.

The Financial Times describes the 20 December 2014 Tours police station stabbing, this attack on 21 December, and the 22 December 2014 Nantes attack as the "the first Isis-linked attacks" in France.[2]


In the space of half an hour, the attacker, identified only as Nacer B, drove a Renault Clio van into groups of pedestrians in 5 separate areas of the city.[3][4][5] Thirteen people were injured; two of them sustained serious injuries.[6] Perpetrator shouted Allahu Akbar, brandished a knife, and claimed that he was "acting on behalf of the children of Palestine."[7] According to Dijon city prosecutor, Marie-Christine Tarrare, perpetrator had become “very agitated” after watching a television program about the plight of children in Chechnya.[8]

The attack has been described as one of a series of terror attacks on French soil,[2][9][10][11][12][13][14][8][15] as a contemporary example of vehicle ramming as a terrorism tactic, [16][17][18][19][20] and as one of the many ISIS-inspired lone wolf terrorist attacks worldwide.[21][22][2]


The man arrested was reported to be "40-year-old man of Arab origin" and "Algerian and Moroccan descent."[15][8] He had been known to the police for minor offenses committed over the course of 20 years, and had repeatedly been treated for “serious and long-established psychiatric issues”.[8]

According to perpetrator's mother, in the week before the attack he had begun to be interested in religion and had started wearing a djellaba.[3][23]


French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve described him as "very unstable". The local prosecutor said the incident was not linked to terrorism and the Interior Ministry believed that he had acted alone, although anti-terrorism investigators opened an inquiry into the attack.[5]

According to the New York Times, "The driver is said to have become 'very agitated' at home after watching a television program about the plight of children in Chechnya. The city prosecutor, Marie-Christine Tarrare said he had told the police that the program made him want to attack the French state by running over police or military officers, but that, after driving to a police station, he chose to drive into pedestrians."[8]

According to the BBC, "the official line" was that this attack was "not terrorism," however, "many people will be asking themselves if there is not some copycat effect being played out. Also, even if it is established the car attacks were the work of unbalanced individuals, might not Islamist propaganda have played some role in pushing them to the act?"[4][24]

According to Public Radio International, Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, France editor for Newsweek Europe, is a journalist who disputed the official denial that this attack was an act of terrorism. Moutet told The World that "It is act of terror, whether organized or not,... It is not linked to the Islamic State, but it's part of this inchoate feeling that exists among disenfranchised youth who are fascinated by Islam — the more extreme the more fascinating to them — and they seize the opportunity."[25]

Journalist Shweta Desai placed the unnamed attacker in Dijon in a series of lone wolf attackers "inspired" by Abu Mohammad al-Adnani's 22 September 2014 video speech urging sympathizers to kill the "disbelieving Americans or Europeans, especially the spiteful and filthy French" in any manner. "Smash his head with a rock or slaughter him with a knife or run him over with your car or run him over with your car or throw him down from a high place or choke him or poison him."[26] Political Scientist David Martin Jones of the University of Queensland concurs, citing the Dijon attack as an action inspired by the 22 September 2014 al-Adnani speech.[27] The Times describes Dijon as a "apparently lone-wolf Islamist attack."[28] The Financial Times describes it together with the attacks in Tours and Nantes as "the first Isis-linked attacks in the country."[2]

According to the Globe and Mail, this attack was "apparently inspired by a video" circulated by ISIL calling on French Muslims to attack non-Muslims using vehicles.[1] According to David C. Rapoport of the University of California, Los Angeles, these three attacks can be understood in the context of the rise of the Islamic State in Syria. "In September 2014, after the U.S. organized its airstrikes, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman called on Muslims in Western countries to find an infidel and ‘smash his head with a rock’, poison him, run him over with a car or ‘destroy his crops’. Two months later a video released in French contained virtually the same message, and a series of strange 'lone wolf' attacks followed on three consecutive days, the perpetrators declaring “'God is Great' in Arabic. Three policemen were stabbed in Joué-lès-Tours, and vehicles were used to run over eleven pedestrians in Dijon and ten in Nantes."[29]

In his 2017 book, Words Are Weapons: Inside ISIS’s Rhetoric of Terror, Philippe-Joseph Salazar, wrote that "the French government strenuously denied that (this and the 2014 Nantes attack) were terrorist attacks, but terrorist experts dissented, referring to them as examples of a 'low intensity permanent warfare.'"[30] Citing this 2014 Dijon car attack, Mark Silinsky of the United States Army War College describes a view held by "some in the West... that political violence perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam is not and cannot be authentically Islamic... In this view, the perpetrators are fueled with a rage unconnected to any religion. Even when perpetrators roar “Allahu Akbar” or bellow praises for the Caliphate, these proclamations are dismissed as empty or misguided rhetoric."[31] In their 2017 article, Is there a Nexus Between Terrorist Involvement and Mental Health in the Age of the Islamic State?, Emily Corner and Paul Gil, describe this attack as example of the "tendency to try to dismiss the possibility of terrorism altogether" in instances where a "confirmed diagnosis" is available.[7]


In what the New York Times described as an effort "to reassure a jittery nation" government deployed 300 troops onto French streets "to guard against copycat attacks inspired by" the 20 December 2014 Tours police station stabbing, this attack on 21 December, and the 22 December 2014 Nantes attack on the city's Christmas market in which ten people were injured and one was killed.[32][8][3][33][34] According to Public Radio International, these three attacks "prompted the French government to step up security at police and fire stations across the country."[35] According to Le Monde, following the series of three attacks police were ordered keep their weapons constantly within reach, even when inside their stations, and to wear their protective vests.[3]

In addition to these immediate responses by the French government, according to CNN security analyst Peter Bergen writing in 2016, this attack was one of a number of Vehicle-ramming attacks that forced police in a number of countries to reconsider methods of protecting crowded public spaces.[20]

According to The Times, this series of three attacks (Dijon, Nantes, Tours) caused Whitehall to move protective measures against "lone volatile extremist(s)" intent on committing vehicle ramming attacks "to the top of the agenda," with a list of recommended measures including bollards, building design, and standards to insure that concrete sets properly.[36]


Manuel Valls, the Prime Minister of France, expressed his "solidarity" with the victims of the attack via Twitter.[5]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Martin, Patrick (15 July 2016). "History of lone-wolf vehicle attacks suggests risk of emulation is very real". Globe and Mail. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/history-of-lone-wolf-vehicle-attacks-suggests-risk-of-emulation-is-very-real/article30933070/. Retrieved 15 July 2016. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jones, Sam (15 July 2016). "France emerges as main focus for terrorists". Financial Times. https://search.proquest.com/news/docview/1811254498/fulltext/FB43A71D927642D4PQ/42?accountid=10226. Retrieved 17 October 2017. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 France, Charles (24 December 2014). "France orders troops on streets to halt lone-wolf terror attacks". Times (London). https://search.proquest.com/news/docview/1639888933/fulltext/3C672CB03CFF45E5PQ/2?accountid=10226. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "France attack: Van driven into shoppers in Nantes". BBC. 3 December 2014. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30583390. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "France Dijon: Driver targets city pedestrians". BBC News. 21 December 2014. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30571911. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  6. Mazzetti, Mark (17 July 2016). "In the Age of ISIS, Who’s a Terrorist, and Who’s Simply Deranged?". New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/18/world/europe/in-the-age-of-isis-whos-a-terrorist-and-whos-simply-deranged.html?_r=0. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Corner, Emily (January 2017). "Is There a Nexus Between Terrorist Involvement and Mental Health in the Age of the Islamic State?". CTC Sentinel 10 (1): 1. https://ctc.usma.edu/posts/is-there-a-nexus-between-terrorist-involvement-and-mental-health-in-the-age-of-the-islamic-state. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Breeden, Aurelien (23 December 2014). "France Puts More Troops on Streets After a String of Attacks". New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/world/europe/french-authorities-appeal-for-calm-after-string-of-attacks.html. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  9. Deliso, Christopher (2017). Migration, Terrorism, and the Future of a Divided Europe: A Continent Transformed. ABC-CLIO. p. 75. ISBN 1440855250. 
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  14. Jamieson, Alastair (20 December 2016). "News Berlin Truck Attack Dec 20 2016, 9:27 am ET Truck Attacks: Low-Tech, Soft Target Terrorism Is Growing Threa". NBC News. http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/berlin-truck-attack/truck-attacks-low-tech-soft-target-terrorism-growing-threat-n609996. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Lichfield, John (23 December 2014). "France 'terrorism': Three 'lone wolf' attacks in three days – so should the country be worried?". The Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/france-terrorism-three-lone-wolf-attacks-in-three-days-so-should-the-country-be-worried-9941764.html. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
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  17. Peritz, Avi (21 December 2016). "Vehicle Attacks Like Berlin's Are Nothing New, And Are Likely To Continue". National Public Radio. http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/12/21/506354954/vehicle-attacks-like-berlins-are-nothing-new-and-are-likely-to-continue. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
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  20. 20.0 20.1 Bergen, Peter (15 July 2016). "Truck attacks -- a frightening tool of terror, with a history". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/14/opinions/truck-attacks-tactic-analysis-bergen/index.html. Retrieved 17 October 2017. 
  21. Yourish, Karen (22 March 2016). "Where ISIS Has Directed and Inspired Attacks Around the World". New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/06/17/world/middleeast/map-isis-attacks-around-the-world.html. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
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  23. Barriaux, Marrianne (24 December 2014). "Unease as France Reels from Bloody Attacks". AFP. Times of Israel. https://www.timesofisrael.com/unease-as-france-reels-from-bloody-attacks/. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
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